Five reasons why I love TouchWiz over stock Android

May 30, 2013
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samsung galaxy s4 vs galaxy s3 s4 touchwiz aa

TouchWiz does a lot of things better than stock Android. Sure, some don’t like the bloatware that comes with it, but it’s an easy trade-off for the value that Samsung’s offering adds to your smartphone. Stock Android is nice, but it feels like a bare bones Android skin. The camera features aren’t the best, and stock Android doesn’t really try to offer handy features like Smart Pause or Multi Window. That said, here are the five reasons why I love TouchWiz over stock Android.

1. Applications

I’m probably going to make a lot of enemies for this, but I actually like a lot of the preloaded applications included on devices running TouchWiz. However, I don’t agree with the fact that they can’t be uninstalled and they have to sit there permanently taking up valuable space.

Depending on how you use your device, apps like Polaris Office 4.0, Allshare Play, and S Note can be very useful. S Note is a very well built note-taking application, Polaris Office 4.0 is an awesome office application, and Allshare Play lets you stream content across multiple devices. There’s an app for everything I could possibly need during the day.

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The best part is that all these apps are supported by Samsung itself, which means there’s no need to worry about an independent developer dropping support for a certain app that’s still full of bugs and may or may not work.

One of the big things with stock Android is that it runs buttery smooth due to the lack of attached software. On the flip side, Samsung is making TouchWiz a “life companion,” which means there’s going to be a lot of software built-in that I may need during the day. It all boils down to your own opinion, but I’d say Samsung’s offering is a good tradeoff.

2. Camera functionality

One of the big advantages in a smartphone for me is the camera functionality. Unfortunately vanilla Android doesn’t offer as many camera functions as a device running TouchWiz. Stock Android has a number of camera features, but not nearly as many as there are in Samsung’s own UI.

Not everyone is going to utilize all of the camera features in TouchWiz, but some of them make taking a photo much easier and more enjoyable – Best Shot or Eraser are such examples. You know how it goes. There’s always that one person that frowns right when you take the photo or someone that photobombs your shot.

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Eraser is an amazingly good feature, especially if you’re out touring and want to take a series of photos of the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower. Being able to remove moving objects straight from your smartphone makes for an easy job on the photographer and an overall pleasant photo.

3. Smart software

TouchWiz is packed with awesome features that you just won’t find on stock Android. As gimmicky as it may sound, the Smart software integrated in TouchWiz provide a more seamless Android experience. It makes the device you’re using more fluid, more easy to use.

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One of the Smart features that I’m particularly fond of is Smart Stay, which also happens to be an awesome battery saver. Smart Stay will keep your screen on as long as you’re looking at. It’ll turn it off when you’re not. Believe it or not, in the long run that saves a lot of battery life, especially if you max out your screen brightness levels.

Smart Pause? Why doesn’t every OEM integrate this into their skins? If there’s something that needs your immediate attention and you have a video playing, you don’t have to even look at your phone. Simply set the phone down and when it detects that you’re not looking at it, it’ll pause the video.

You could say that’s being lazy, but if you have kids who like to get into everything, you can give the situation your immediate attention without worrying about losing your spot in the video. I don’t understand why stock Android just doesn’t have things like this. It makes it feel like a bare bones Android skin, and maybe it was meant to be that way so manufacturers had something to build off of, so to speak.

4. S Pen integration

The S Pen software integrated into TouchWiz makes it the best thing since sliced bread. Not only that, but it makes whatever device you’re using great for business, school, etc. Like I said before, Samsung is turning TouchWiz into a “life companion,” which is great. It just makes your device all the more useful.

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Other useful features are Air View and Air Gesture. Air View originally showed up on the Galaxy Note 2, which required an S Pen. Now you can hover your finger over messages and emails to read them without an S Pen. On the other hand, Air Gesture will let you navigate by waving your hand. You can even answer phone calls by performing that gesture.

I’ll admit, at first it sounds gimmicky, but if you’re at pool or if your hands are soaked in barbeque sauce from dinner, these features can be very useful, especially if it’s an important message or phone call.

5. Multi Window

Multi Window has a lot of uses, but it’s also very limited. There aren’t a whole lot of apps that have Multi Window support, which means you’re very limited as to what you can do. However, there’s still a few things available to the user that make this feature extremely useful.

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For instance, if you’re watching a lecture on YouTube or through the video player, you can throw S Note on the bottom of the screen and easily take notes. Better yet, you could be out on vacation and want to go out to dinner, but you don’t want to stray too far from the hotel. Just throw up your browser as the top window and Google Maps as the bottom window, and you can easily find a good nearby restaurant with directions without having to navigate your phone a whole lot.

Here’s a video that explains some of the features available in the latest version of TouchWiz.

Wrap up

Let’s keep in mind that TouchWiz isn’t the perfect Android skin. In fact, there isn’t a perfect Android UI out there. Stock Android isn’t even perfect. However, I feel stock Android could offer a lot more features to users that would make their overall Android experience even better.

That said, I don’t dislike stock vanilla Android either. It’s nice, but for the reasons listed above, I prefer TouchWiz. What do you prefer? TouchWiz, Motoblur, Sense, MIUI, or something else?

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